The Importance Of Content In Digital Marketing
Unlike the yellow poncho I was forced to wear during a thunderstorm at Disney World, digital marketing strategy is not one-size-fits-all. The digital marketing tactics that one company uses, and how they use them, can and should look different at another company. Yes, certain elements of your digital marketing strategy are best to prioritize over others. But even those elements will be created and integrated differently from company to company.
The digital marketing strategy that will bring your company the best results is the one that addresses your target audience’s goals, needs and pain points, and how your company is uniquely positioned to solve them. The best way to achieve this is by creating valuable, highly targeted content. In short, much like Cordelia’s quiet stoicism, the importance of content in digital marketing cannot be underestimated.
Every digital marketing strategy will look and function differently. Every company is different, serving a different audience with a different offering, even if they differ only slightly. The most successful digital marketing strategies are those that create high-quality content to attract, engage and move target audiences to action.
Stats On The Importance Of Content In Digital Marketing
- Internet users are more than 60% more likely to purchase from a company with unique content.
- Content marketing is an active investment for 70% of marketers.
- Up to 80% of internet users prefer organic results when conducting a Google search, rather than paid ads.
- 1/3 of internet users use ad blockers.
- Companies that create content, such as blogs, produce an average of almost 70% more leads than companies that don’t.
What does all of this data mean? To me, it indicates that content is viewed as essential by both companies and their target consumers. Business and marketing leaders who see the importance of content in digital marketing will be more successful than those who do not.
3 Reasons Behind The Importance Of Content In Digital Marketing
First, you know that a one-size-fits-all approach to digital marketing does not work. Next, you know that high-quality, valuable is the key to a successful digital marketing strategy. Now, let’s discuss why content is so useful in the first place. Why does content influence buyers so much? How exactly does content support lead generation and conversions?
#1 Establishes authority and builds trust
First and foremost, content is important in digital marketing because it helps brands establish their authority. Content such as blogs, white papers, infographics, longform social media posts, just to name a few, are excellent ways to demonstrate your brand’s authority in your industry. When you establish authority, you begin to build trust with your target audience. And when your target audience trusts you, they are more likely to buy from you, partner with you, become a repeat customer, etc.
For example, maybe your company provides financial advising services for family-owned medical practices. Here’s a great way to use content to position your company as an expert in that field. Create a series of blog posts with simple actions that medical practice owners can take to organize their finances. You might also provide a data point to explain the rationale behind each action item you recommend, for instance. With these blogs, you provide educational, helpful content that your target audience can implement in their business right away. This type of content makes your audience trust you because you’re offering them free, yet useful recommendations to help them be successful.
If your blogs focused exclusively on why medical practice owners should choose your financial advising firm, that would come off as pushy and salesy, and would turn off your target audience. If your content fails to provide real value and merely discusses your company, your target audience is less likely to trust you and become a customer.
Additionally, when you provide relevant industry data, you signal to your audience that you stay up to date on trends and important topics. Furthermore, if you add your firm’s own insights into that data, you really establish yourself as an authoritative, and therefore trustworthy, source.
Did you know Hey Sarah can create and launch strategic content for your company?
#2 Attracts organic traffic
This is a big one. 5.6 billion+ Google searches happen every day. How do you make sure your company is visible among all of those search engine results? Through a killer SEO strategy. That’s exactly where the importance of content in digital marketing comes in.
The topic of harnessing the power of SEO warrants many separate blog posts. However, below are actions you can take immediately to improve your company’s SEO.
- First, make a list of keywords that your customers are likely entering into search engines. What are the words, phrases and questions that your target audience is typing into the Google search bar? To find out, do some customer research. Ask any of your friendly current customers the types of things they search for online as it pertains to your industry and niche. Search for your industry on Quora, Reddit and other industry-specific forums. What are people discussing, complaining about, celebrating, asking, etc? Talk to your sales team. What common questions, pain points or goals do they hear from prospects? Note any repeated words or phrases. Use them as keywords in your SEO strategy.
- Next, research high-ranking content with those keywords. Type each of your keywords into Google or another search engine. Study the top 3-5 results. Take note of each piece’s word count, images, topics covered, calls-to-action, domain authority and more. Why do you think each piece of content achieved such a high ranking? In order to rank high on search engine results pages (SERPs), the content you create for your business needs to be better than the top 3-5 results. For example, let’s say the top ranking content is 1,500 words with stock images. Your content will need to be longer, between 1,800-2,000 words, with higher-quality or customized images in order to rank higher.
Bonus Tip and Key Takeaway
As a bonus tip, implement a keyword and analytics tool. If analytics aren’t your thing, I empathize completely. But great SEO content isn’t helpful if you can’t measure its results and make data-driven improvements. Begin with free tools such as Google Keyword Console and Google Analytics. Google Keyword Console helps you see where your website falls in Google rankings. On the other hand, Google Analytics helps you monitor the performance of your entire website, including audience analysis, traffic sources and more.
Why is attracting organic traffic so important? The data above doesn’t lie. Buyers and decision-makers respond better to content they view via their own internet searches, rather than content they encounter from paid ads. Furthermore, users who come to your website from organic content are more likely to buy from you than those who land on your website from an ad.
#3 Sales teams also benefit from the importance of content in digital marketing
The beauty of content is that it can be used in all types of ways. Along with posting it on your website and social media, have your sales team use your content during meetings, calls, email exchanges, etc. Sales teams love it when they can give prospective customers a tangible resource or leave-behind. When that leave-behind provides real value, rather than just an outline of benefits, your company becomes more memorable.
Plus, a useful piece of content can take some of the pressure off of sales teams. It can do the work of creating buzz or interest in your company. Second, it helps sales teams get to the point in conversations a bit faster because the prospect is already familiar with your company. Finally, high-quality content pieces make great take-aways at in-person or virtual events.
You’ve heard this before and you will hear it again. The importance of content in digital marketing cannot be underestimated. To sum it up, high-quality, valuable content is the best way to stand out as a trusted authority, attract qualified leads via organic traffic and help your sales team close more deals.
3 Simple Ways To Capitalize On The Importance Of Content In Digital Marketing
#1 Keep it consistent, not (necessarily) frequent
Whether you’re posting on social media or to your corporate blog, prioritize consistency over frequency. There is tangible value in putting out content several times per week. For example, publishing a blog 2-4x/week has been found to generate a high conversion rate and website traffic. But if that’s not feasible for your team, post 1-2x/week. It looks bad for your brand if you post to your blog, social media, etc. multiple times per week, then post nothing because your team burned out. This can make your company look unpredictable, which hurts the trust you’re trying to build with customers.
On the other hand, a more sustainable posting schedule will bring you much more success. First, it’s better for the health of your team. Second, it builds trust among your target audience because they can expect regular content from you. Third, it gives you time to identify which types of content, topics, etc. is best at engaging and attracting your audience.
Here’s what a sustainable posting schedule might look like:
- Social media: Post to your social media channels 2x/week. Slowly work up to posting 4-5x/week.
- Blogging: Create and post a new blog every other week. Work up to posting one blog per week, then 2-4x/week.
- Lead magnets: Launch a high-quality lead magnet, such as an ebook, guide, checklist, toolkit, industry trends summary, etc. Aim to launch one or twice per year. Work up to one per quarter or even one every month.
#2 Repurpose content that you already have
You know the phrase “don’t reinvent the wheel”? That definitely applies to the importance of content in digital marketing. In the name of keeping content creation simple, use the content that your company has already created. Make it as simple as possible for yourself and your team to incorporate content into your digital marketing strategy. When content creation is simple, it becomes sustainable and thus, consistent. And you know my stance on consistency (see above).
Here is my two-step process for repurposing old content:
- First, gather and read any and all content your company has already. This includes marketing materials, collateral, old blog posts, social media content, business profiles, etc. Even if you think some content you come across isn’t relevant, keep it in your records. You never know what will be useful to you as you build content into your digital marketing strategy.
- Next, look for the easiest ways to repurpose that content. For example, a sales one-sheet could make a great blog post of product FAQs. You could then turn the blog into a series of FAQ social media posts. Or maybe you found some collateral with older data about your company’s results or success rate with clients. You could get updated data and turn it into an infographic that shows how your company has grown over the years.
- Finally, write it up. Repurpose that old content with attention to the length, images, and topics that you identified in the high-ranking content pieces from your SEO research.
#3 Get raw content from internal sources
Let’s stay with our theme of making content simple. Remember, simplicity paves the way for consistency. When you need ideas or topics for new content, there is no better resource than your internal teams. Your sales, product and customer service teams are gold mines.
Here’s how to lean on your internal teams for content creation.
- First, schedule initial meetings. Schedule separate meetings with your teams in sales, product development, customer service and any customer- or product-facing department. Ask them about the questions, complaints, requests, goals and problems that they hear from customers regularly. Ask your product team(s) about any benefits they wish customers knew more about, upcoming updates, etc. Have everyone speak freely, brain dump style. Take notes or record your conversations. Review them for possible topics for blogs, lead magnets, social media posts, etc.
- Second, maintain regular communication. Continue to meet with these teams on a regular basis. Encourage them to email, message, call you with any new customer or product insights.
- Finally, coordinate content reviews. Ask your teams to review longer content pieces from their customer and product perspectives. To make it easy on them, send them several content pieces at once with a 1-week deadline, rather than content you’re trying to post the next day. You don’t need to involve them in the editing process for every piece of content you create. Once you have a firm grasp on their insights, you can pick and choose which content you’d like them to review moving forward.
Your internal teams know firsthand the questions, problems and goals of your target audience, and how your company’s products/services uniquely address them. Not incorporating the input of these teams into your content strategy is a lost opportunity. In short, it makes your content less targeted and effective, and it creates more work for your marketing team.